2 Samuel 19:28
For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet did you set your servant among them that did eat at your own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more to the king?
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2 Samuel 19:28. All my father’s house were but dead men before my lord — Before thy tribunal: we were all at thy mercy; not my estate only, but my life also was in thy power, if thou hadst dealt with rigour, and as earthly kings use to do with their predecessors’ and enemies’ children. What right have I yet to cry? — For the vindication of my honour, and the restitution of my estate.19:24-30 David recalls the forfeiture of Mephibosheth's estate; and he expressed joy for the king's return. A good man contentedly bears his own losses, while he sees Israel in peace, and the Son of David exalted.What appears to have happened is, that when Mephibosheth ordered Ziba to saddle the donkeys and ride with him to join David, Ziba left him under pretence of obeying, but instead laded the donkeys with provisions, and went off alone with them, thus making it impossible for Mephibosheth to follow. 24-30. Mephibosheth … came down to meet the king—The reception given to Mephibosheth was less creditable to David. The sincerity of that prince's grief for the misfortunes of the king cannot be doubted.

He had neither dressed his feet—not taken the bath,

nor trimmed his beard—The Hebrews cut off the hair on the upper lip (see on [277]Le 13:45), and cheeks, but carefully cherished it on the chin from ear to ear. Besides dyeing it black or red colors, which, however, is the exception, and not the rule in the East, there are various modes of trimming it: they train it into a massy, bushy form, swelling and round; or they terminate it like a pyramid, in a sharp point. Whatever the mode, it is always trimmed with the greatest care; and they usually carry a small comb for the purpose. The neglect of this attention to his beard was an undoubted proof of the depth of Mephibosheth's grief. The king seems to have received him upbraidingly, and not to have been altogether sure either of his guilt or innocence. It is impossible to commend the cavalier treatment, any more than to approve the partial award, of David in this case. If he were too hurried and distracted by the pressure of circumstances to inquire fully into the matter, he should have postponed his decision; for if by "dividing the land" (2Sa 19:29) he meant that the former arrangement should be continued by which Mephibosheth was acknowledged the proprietor, and Ziba the farmer, it was a hardship inflicted on the owner to fix him with a tenant who had so grossly slandered him. But if by "dividing the land," they were now to share alike, the injustice of the decision was greatly increased. In any view, the generous, disinterested spirit displayed by Mephibosheth was worthy a son of the noble-hearted Jonathan.

Before my lord the king, i.e. before thy tribunal: we were all at thy mercy; not my estate only, (which thou hast now granted to Ziba,) but my life also was in thy power, if thou hadst dealt with rigour, and as earthly kings use to do with their predecessors’ and enemies’ children. For otherwise by the law of God Saul himself had not deserved to die by David’s hands, as David himself confessed; much less his children, who were not to die for their father’s sins, Deu 24:16. But Mephibosheth speaks like a courtier, and like an orator, aggravating matters against himself, that he might seem to justify the king’s sentence, and to submit to it; and so insinuate himself unto the king’s favour.

To cry any more unto the king, to wit, for the vindication of mine honour, and the restitution of my estate. For all of my, father's house were but dead men before my lord the king,.... Or "men of death" (m); worthy of death, not on account of Saul's persecution, for which his family did not deserve to suffer; rather for the attempt of Ishbosheth to get the kingdom from him, which might be deemed treason, and so the family was tainted for it; though the sense may be only this, that their lives lay at his mercy, and that if he had dealt with rigour and severity towards them, as was usual for princes to do towards the family of their predecessors, who had any claim to the kingdom, put them to death, this would have been their case:

yet didst thou set thy servant among them that eat at thine own table; which was showing him great kindness, and doing him great honour:

what right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king? to ask any favour of him, or make any complaint to him.

(m) "viris mortis", Montanus.

For all of my father's house were {n} but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?

(n) Worthy to die for Saul's cruelty to you.

28. were but dead men] For David might have put them all to death. Possibly there is an allusion to the surrender of Saul’s sons to the Gibeonites (ch. 2 Samuel 21:6-9).

what right, &c.] Since all David’s favours to him were undeserved, he had no ground for making a complaint, and demanding the restoration of his property as a right."For thy servant knoweth (i.e., I know) that I have sinned, and behold I have come to-day the first of the whole house of Joseph, to go to meet my lord the king." By "the whole house of Joseph" we are to understand the rest of the tribes with the exception of Judah, who are called "all Israel" in 2 Samuel 19:12. There is no reason for the objection taken by Thenius and Bttcher to the expression בּית־יוסף. This rendering of the lxx (παντὸς Ἰσραὴλ καὶ οἴκου Ἰωσήφ) does not prove that כּלישׂראל was the original reading, but only that the translator thought it necessary to explain οἴκου Ἰωσήφ by adding the gloss παντὸς Ἰσραὴλ; and the assertion that it was only in the oratorical style of a later period, when the kingdom had been divided, that Joseph became the party name of all that were not included in Judah, is overthrown by 1 Kings 11:28. The designation of the tribes that opposed Judah by the name of the leading tribe (Joseph: Joshua 16:1) was as old as the jealousy between these tribes and Judah, which did not commence with the division of the kingdom, but was simply confirmed thereby into a permanent distinction. Shimei's prayer for the forgiveness of his sin was no more a proof of sincere repentance than the reason which he adduced in support of his petition, namely that he was the first of all the house of Joseph to come and meet David. Shimei's only desire was to secure impunity for himself. Abishai therefore replied (2 Samuel 19:21), "Shall not Shimei be put to death for this (זאת תּחת, for this, which he has just said and done), because he hath cursed the anointed of Jehovah?" (vid., 2 Samuel 16:5.). But David answered (2 Samuel 19:22), "What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah (cf. 2 Samuel 16:10), for ye become opponents to me to-day?" שׂטן, an opponent, who places obstacles in the way (Numbers 22:22); here it signifies one who would draw away to evil. "Should any one be put to death in Israel to-day? for do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?" The reason assigned by David here for not punishing the blasphemer as he had deserved, by taking away his life, would have been a very laudable one if the king had really forgiven him. But as David when upon his deathbed charged his successor to punish Shimei for this cursing (1 Kings 2:8-9), the favour shown him here was only a sign of David's weakness, which was not worthy of imitation, the more especially as the king swore unto him (2 Samuel 19:24) that he should not die.
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